As the third largest exporter in the world, Anglo American has secured over a decade of mine operations here in Tumbler Ridge.
Currently the company has 5,000 hectors of coal leases, 37,000 hectors of coal licence and a pending quarter of a million hectares in their 50/50 venture with Walter Energy, The Belcourt-Saxon Project.
Robert Craike, general manager for the Trend Mine project asks, “Why did we come to Tumbler? We didn’t come for a two million tonne a year operation, we see the potential in this area and the long-term growth. That’s why Anglo American is here.”
A main objective for the mine has been to increase production, which has been successful. In 2011 the project was producing 900,000 tonnes and this year, it will produce about 1.8 million. “By the end of June this year, we had produced as much as we produce in all of 2011, something we are extremely proud of,” says Craike.
The Roman mine is progressing with caribou management and water quality being top concerns for the development. Craike explains the company is building a water treatment plant, which they hope to be operational by June of next year.. “It will treat selenium and also nitrates. It will be the first operating plant of its kind in northeastern BC,” explains Craike. He continues, “We will be open to sharing the results of the selenium treatment, I think it is still a bit of an unknown for people and we will learn as we go, we have no problem sharing and it is in all our interests to deal with that issue.”
Crews have begun working in phase one, which has been approved for water management, not to start mining, just to create the infrastructure to allow mining. It is a West Moberly First Nations construction company that is doing the work. Much of the water work is being done at Babcock Creek.
This project has extended the mine-life by 14 years, creating about 35 million tonnes of clean coal or 2.5 million tonnes per annum.
By 2029, the mine would have dumped waste from the Roman project over the current phase one, two and three of the Trend project and have started to rehab the land. They will be able to start reclaiming phase four of the Trend project earlier as the Roman project will not be dumping on the area. “My commitment is we will rehab where we can as soon as we can. That also helps for selenium and other sorts of things,” says Craike.